the graduate directed and adapted by Terry Johnson, from the novel by Charles Webb and screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, with Kathleen Turner, Jason Biggs and Alicia Silverstone. Presented by John Reid and Sacha Brooks with StudioCanal at the Canon Theatre (244 Victoria). Runs to February 17, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Wednesday, Saturday-Sunday 2 pm. $30-$93. 416-872-1212. Rating: NN Rating: NN
never mind the fact that Kathleen Turner's full-frontal nude scene is stunning and dramatically necessary (although a friend said that if she flashed her ass it would be more physically revealing); forget that American Pie's hard-working Jason Biggs almost makes you forget the nasal charms of Dustin Hoffman; and try, I know it's hard, to ignore Alicia Silverstone's high-pitched whine of a performance (now who's Clueless when it comes to theatre acting?)... No, the real question is, how long will the stage version of The Graduate last on Broadway? Not very -- especially if it resembles the wooden local opening-night production and stays like that for the rest of its pre-New York run.
The show's narrative about disillusioned grad Benjamin Braddock (Biggs) and his sexual romp through the female half of the Robinson family is more fleshed-out than it was in the Mike Nichols film, with some early scenes suggesting the searching restlessness and social upheaval of America in the 60s.
But there's a forced feel to Brit Terry (Hysteria) Johnson's adaptation. He moves his characters around awkwardly, and some scenes end with lame blackout lines.
His direction feels as cold as Rob Howell's set, dominated by a towering louvre motif that's meant to suggest hidden closets but merely indicates sterility on a budget.
What's missing is a sense of fun and discovery. Turner, the show's most watchable element, plays the sultry card in her deck once too often. That's not enough for the Big Apple.